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Happy Valentine's Day: Because, sometimes love beats smarts

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Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you will be successful. Even with a laser focus on learning and education, you can’t think your way to amazing, even if you’re putting in the effort. Brains just aren’t enough.

Neither is a mind-blowingly obsessive attention to detail. You can rule out discipline, too (even though it does contribute to consistently successful outcomes). Neither effort nor discipline nor extreme behavior will get you there.

It takes something more. And that thing is love. You have to learn how to connect emotionally with prospects. I’m not talking about the squishy, gooey, Valentine’s Day, soap opera kind of love that might have just popped into your mind. It doesn’t involve chocolates, flowers or sexy massage oils. But it does involve emotional intelligence.

It’s a sympathetic awareness framed by a deep understanding of what really moves people to do what they do. It’s an awareness that doesn’t expect rational behavior from people 100 percent of the time. It anticipates the ill-logic of a prospect’s deeply personal nuance. 

It goes beyond books and degrees. And lest you shrug this off as just the whimsical weakness of under-producing has-beens, you might want to take a closer look. Emotional intelligence, this “working love,” is what endowed Apple’s Steve Jobs with the ability to inspire passion for his technology offerings. 

In the face of Microsoft’s dominance of the business-scape, Jobs elevated the conversation around beauty and design. He believed the user experience was more important than overwhelming functionality. And the message connected wildly with consumers who felt empowered by technology that looked great and performed smoothly. 

That emotional connection fueled a 9000 percent increase in Apple’s market value, while Microsoft increased a mere 5 percent and Intel rose only 14. It was the triumph of love over smarts. And the same formula that created the most valuable company in the world can empower you as well.

It comes down to three things that you need to understand:

How our brains make decisions. This whole concept of loving others falls apart pretty darn quickly if you don’t know how our brains compute information. We’re wired to be emotional, not logical. Education doesn’t change that. The same irrational behavior you find inexcusable in others is the default wiring in your own decision-making.

How fear and pain drive our activities. You aren’t wired to be good at combating fear and failure. Even the smallest hint of an uncomfortable or painful situation can push your entire nervous system into overdrive. You’re wired to run away from anything that looks scary. Knowing this can help you connect with what prospects are going through.

The power of love to rejuvenate relationships. What inspires you more powerfully than any other force on earth is love. That’s not hype—it’s evidenced at the laboratory level. Empathy quite literally creates new brain matter. When you love others, it helps to rehabilitate them.

In our social environment of niche knowledge, it might seem as if the answer to fixing our sales problems is another webinar or online course. And while knowing more is a powerful enabler for doing more, it’s still not enough. What you really need is more love.

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Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker and author. He is author of the soon-to-be-released Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success. For more information, go to


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